Technology

YouTube removed popular ‘Lofi Girl’ streams after it received false and ‘abusive’ copyright claims

  • Popular YouTube streams run by Lofi Girl were wrongly deleted by the platform due to fake copyright strikes.
  • The company in a tweet apologized and promised to restore the streams.

YouTube on Monday admitted it had improperly removed several livestreams from one of the platform’s most popular accounts, Lofi Girl, issuing an apology and promising to restore the channels within two days.

Lofi Girl on Sunday claimed that its accounts had been targeted with baseless allegations of copyright violation, tweeting “lofi radios have been taken down because of false copyright strikes.” A screenshot of an email sent by YouTube attached to the tweet said the “lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to” and one copyright strike was added to the account. The tweet has earned more than 96,000 likes, a sign of the account’s immense popularity.

Another one of Lofi Girl’s popular streams, “beats to sleep/chill to,” was also removed as a result of a false copyright strike. The channel was created by the French musician Dmitri in 2015 and is one of the longest running live videos in the history of YouTube, according to a report from VICE.

Its most popular video, “lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to,” features a now-widely recognizable image of an animated woman working at a desk wearing headphones while calm music plays in the background. The account has more than 10 million subscribers on YouTube, and its two most popular live streams, which were deleted by YouTube, combined have nearly 800 million total views. It was rebranded from its original name, ChilledCow, last year.

In a tweet sent early Monday, a YouTube spokesperson “confirmed the takedown requests were abusive,” adding that the platform had terminated the account of the complainant. It said it removed the copyright strikes that were added to the account after the false report. As Insider previously reported, false copyright strikes have long been an issue for YouTube and its creators, as bad actors sometimes falsely report videos they dislike, which can end in their removal.

According to YouTube’s community guidelines, one copyright strike serves as a warning, but if an account accumulates three strikes over the course of its lifetime, it is subject to termination and the user is forbidden from creating any further YouTube accounts.

The Lofi Girl livestreams have not been restored as of Monday afternoon, but the company said in its tweet that it could be 24 to 48 hours before they reappear on the site.

The Lofi Girl account has faced similar takedowns from YouTube in the past. YouTube in February 2020 terminated Lofi Girl’s channel, then called ChilledCow, for a terms of service violation. In that instance, YouTube similarly restored the channel and said the removal was an error.

“We’ve shared feedback with our review team to prevent similar errors from happening in the future,” the @TeamYouTube account tweeted at the time.

The channel was also removed in 2017 for using footage from the movie “Whisper of the Heat,” though it was eventually restored when it returned with a custom animation, VICE reported.

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